Abrahamic religious texts—The Bible, The Quran, and The Torah—are often incorrectly cited to justify any controversial action and give these actions a spot in the realm of “political correctness.” Some behaviors, because of common misconceptions rooted in the improper citation and interpretation of the Abrahamic religious texts, have developed a negative stigma.
Certain groups of people have been mistreated and discriminated against over interpretations of content within the Abrahamic religious texts. Michael Davidson, a Jesuit involved in Boston College Campus Ministry, examines the relationship between his fellow Jesuits and the greater BC student body.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Davidson was introduced to Catholicism by attending church with other members of his community, though his own family was not religious.
We had a short conversation about his job and his role campus ministry. I cut the conversation off to progress to an issue that has been close to my heart for some time. I asked him about his views on the LGBTQ community here on campus. After countless encounters with people who identify as LGBTQ, I have listened to a plethora of heart-wrenching stories, stories of hatred and deprecation.
The LGBTQ community and the Catholic community have historically been at odds with each other, but Davidson believes it is his role as a Jesuit in the 21st century to serve as a mediator between the two parties.
“Well, I think, like every other student, they are students of Boston College, and I don’t see them as any different,” Davidson said. “I mean, I don’t care about people’s sexual preference. I’m here to serve all people.”
This, to me, seemed like the proper answer, the right answer. But it seemed rehearsed. It was too politically correct. The dialogue of LGBTQ acceptance has been perpetuated for many years, requiring tireless efforts and even government intervention. Even at acclaimed schools such as BC, many refuse to respect the preferences of others, using the content in religious texts as their justification to degrade. I wanted to know what Davidson really thought about the LGBTQ community here on campus.
“Our belief is founded in the Gospel,” Davidson said. “Ignatius asked us to find God in all things. And of course there are some Jesuits who are liberal and some who are conservative, but the main fact is that all Jesuits are companions of Jesus.”
Davidson went on to explain that this companionship with Jesus should act as a bridge or facilitator for other human relationships. Rather than alienate people, this relationship with Jesus is meant to unify—to lay a foundation for fundamentally meaningful connections.
“When you’re a companion of Jesus, you build a relationship, and that relationship helps you build other relationships out of love,” he said. “It can’t be built out of fear. It can’t be built out of hate. It can’t be built on distrust. It can’t be built on suspicion or judgement.”
Davidson, as well as other Jesuits, set the example for the campus philosophy as a whole. Davidson emphasizes that Jesuits should not be confined to the closed-minded stereotype to which they often fall victim, just as he hopes that other demographics are understood to be a diverse group of individuals.
For those who currently struggle with their sexual orientation and feel negative external pressures, Davidson has a message.
“I think that they have not come to love themselves and to value themselves,” he said. “Like I said to you, you cannot change other people—and if you continue to let the people around you not allow you to love yourself, then you will live a very unhappy life. And God didn’t call us to be unhappy. He created us, and he wants us to be happy.”
Davidson used an analogy to sum up how he believes the world should act in light of disagreement or controversy, effectively summarizing what Jesuits and BC stand for and explaining why love is a power.
“For example, [let’s say you don’t like your boss],” Davidson said. “You’re not going to sit there and say [‘I hate my boss’]. You are going to say to yourself, ‘All right, I can change me. I can’t change him.’”
To Davidson, a healthy discourse within oneself is crucial to building and maintaining genuine and caring external relationships with the people we surround ourselves with. To be loving in thought is just as important as it is to be loving in action, and the two are, undoubtedly, directly correlated.
“Making noise is feeding into that particular [aggressive] type of behavior,” Davidson said. “If he’s mean to me, I’m not going to be mean to him.”
Davidson encourages people to acknowledge when they are faced with antagonism.
“I want to show him kindness. Love begets love.”
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor